The 2014 unemployment extension bill in both the House and Senate is in trouble but Senators Jack Reed and Dean Heller say they are not giving up and they are currently working on a new way to fund their EUC bill.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Heller claims President Obama “needs to be more engaged” with Congress and this lack of intervention has allowed opponents of the EUC to win the day. Some Republicans believe that restoring the unemployment benefits cutoff to 26 weeks caused the unemployment rate to drop since people were supposedly forced to work harder to find jobs, but some reports claim the jobless rate has not been effected at all.
Now it’s possible the 2014 unemployment extension is doomed because President Obama and Congress chose to use the exact same type of taxes that Reed and Heller had designed in order to save the quickly depleting Highway Trust Fund. In addition, the Highway Trust Fund patch by Congress also raided money that was originally intended for the oddly named Leaking Underground Storage Tank fund (LUST). The ironic part is that pension smoothing and customs fees were called a “gimmick” by critics, even including Politifact. This political maneuver had Reed complaining about how his fellow members of Congress used his ideas:
“I think it’s very revealing that, you know, now [pension smoothing and customs fees are] not a gimmick, but it’s a very prudent way to respond to the fiscal issues of the Highway Trust Fund. You know, it’s nice to sort of be copied, in some respects, but then it’s not nice.”
The bad news gets even worse when you consider that the 2014 mid-term elections reduces the amount of time left for Congress to get the job done. The August recess is coming up fast, leaving only 35 working days for Congress.
In a fashion, there is a silver lining in this bad news cloud for the currently unemployed. Avoiding that particular fiscal cliff does indirectly effect the unemployment rate since if Congress had waited any longer then 700,000 jobs would have been at risk and there was also talk of increasing the gas tax as an alternative solution. The only other option would have been to reduce transportation spending by a large amount, which still would have meant hundreds of thousands of newly unemployed Americans competing for the same jobs.
It also forces the bipartisan effort back to the drawing board. According to National Journal, Reed and Heller face the difficult task of finding a combination of new taxes or offsets in order to pay for the 2014 unemployment extension bill, which currently has a cost of around $10 billion for five months in increased unemployment insurance. But it’s possible they will find a new path that’s not considered a gimmick by critics and also appeases John Boehner’s continuing demand for a jobs provision attached to the bill.
How do you think Congress should pay for the 2014 unemployment extension bill?